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Real Talk | Life's Too Short To Feel Guilty About These Things

Lifestyle, Real TalkMaría Elena RodríguezComment

After a night of browsing around the Sephora and Ulta websites, wondering if I really needed a $40 CC Cream and three new makeup brushes, I decided to finally checkout my order. But after I made my purchase and uploaded a picture to my Snapchat talking about how bad I felt about my decision, I asked myself this simple question: Why did I feel guilty about buying something I enjoy so much?

Why do we have to feel so guilty about giving ourselves a treat, something that makes us happy at least once a month? I mean, don't get me wrong, you better pay your bills and be careful not drown yourself in credit card debt. But if we know how to manage our money and spend it only whenever we can, why should we feel bad about giving ourselves a nice treat? We work really hard for our money (at least some of us) and life should be more about doing what makes you happy. Cliché, but totally true. 

That's why I was inspired to make a list of the things you should never regret spoiling yourself over:

Makeup

Even if you are a daily wearer or only wear makeup on special occasions, there is no doubt makeup makes you feel pretty and confident every now and then. If you want to buy another shade of lipstick, go ahead and do it! A confident boost is definitely priceless. You can read my latest beauty adventures here

Having a fancy skincare routine

I used to be a huge slacker with this. And I have multiple high school pictures to prove it, but you won't be amazed by those anytime soon. So now that I'm officially a quarter life person (I don't want to say crisis anymore), I know that I have to stick to a routine or suffer the consequences of my tanning days at the beach during college. I resolved this by mastering the art of looking at my skincare routine as "me time" every evening. I recently entered the rose water sprays world and I'm hooked! Does it do anything different to my skin? I doubt it, but it smells great and makes me feel fancy as hell. So to me, that is so worth it. 

Find a similar rose water spray here.

Traveling

It's not like I always feel bad about traveling, is that I was never used to buying airplane tickets more than once a year. But this year everything has changed and I have started to cut down on my Sephora hauls in order to have more money to travel to new places.  This not only has helped me to heal in several aspects of my life, it helps me create more valuable content for Ambinity, which I value the most. If you want to check out my most recent trip to California check these travel diaries:

I will also be traveling to a new place next week so make sure you follow me on Instagram @ambinity and Snapchat (elenarodrz)! I will be keeping you guys updated. 

Barcelona is next on my Bucket List! Check out a similar travel guide here.

That one fashion statement item you've always wanted

For me, this was my Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 in Damier Ebene. I bought it pre-owned almost a year ago as a reward for several goals I had accomplished. It was the bag of my dreams and I'm reminded of my hard work every time I wear it. I'm reminded that I can have whatever I want if I work really hard. 

Check out my latest "What's in my Bag" featuring my Speedy here.

Buying candles that cost more than $25

This may sound ridiculous, but to me, this is so relaxing. And just as my rose water sprays, it actually does nothing but gives my life an added luxury that feels rewarding and indulging. My favorite candles are sold during the fall and winter months so I am super excited about it! Here are some of my favorite luxury scents:

Bath and Body Works Candle

Getting pampered at the salon

Even if you go once every 3-5 months like I do or you're lucky enough to afford going every month, going to the salon must be a moment to splurge and celebrate your week's hard work. So if you feel like getting a mani/pedi while your highlights get done, go ahead and do it!

Buying Fresh Flowers for yourself

This is a huge one for me. I try to buy my favorite kind of white flowers (I have yet to learn their names) at least once a month. They make my room feel pretty and fresh. Plus, it makes killer flat lay Instagram pictures! 

That's it guys! I really hope you enjoyed this post. Just remember: Enjoy life while can people! It's too short not to enjoy it in your favorite things. 

Now I want to hear about you! What are your favorite ways to indulge? 

Until next time, 

María Elena

Top Beauty Products of 2015

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

Yes people! I am alive. Want to know why I was missing? Because I don't think its fair for me or for you guys to post without any inspiration don't you think? The content would have been terrible. 

But to be 100% honest, I turned 25 this past November and I can't say I haven't had a mini quarter life crisis, even though I had a drafted post of "How I Got Over My Quarter Life Crisis Before it Happened" HA! I can be so optimistic at times. So as you can imagine, a lot of thinking, soul searching (super cheesy, I know) and after a weekend of cleaning, sleeping and just being with myself I can finally say I'm ready to start updating Ambinity for good this 2016! Sounds good right? 

Now, enough about the boring stuff... So what better way to start the year than by talking about all the good things from 2015?! YAAAS please. So here you go, my top beauty products from 2015:

 

Marshmallow Fireside Candle by Bath and Body Works

Why do I call this a "Beauty Favorite"? Because it helps me unwind before going to sleep. And we all know how important a good night sleep is for your beauty routine! This candle has been a favorite ever since BBW store opened in Puerto Rico. It's just how I like my candles: warm, vanilla-ish and with just a hint of spice. Heaven, just heaven. Fun Fact: I even like it more than my $65 candle. Yikes!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

I finally purchased this after watching Tati aka Glam Life Guru on Youtube rave about this on a First Impressions video. Even though this is definitely not a cheap foundation it is perfect for someone wanting save money due to its versatility. Just one drop mixed with your favorite moisturizer or sunblock makes it a tinted moisturizer. Want a bit more coverage? Upgrade to two, three or even four drops. Want a luminous look? Mix it in with your favorite liquid highlighter or facial oil. So many possibilities... I just love it!

Tarte 100% Maracuja Oil

Surprise? I don't think so. I don't know why but I kept trying different facial oils to see if it worked better, but nope! This oil loves my skin and I have been mixing it in with my Cover FX Custom Drops, which is working like magic. This would not be the first time I say this, but if you have oily skin, you need to try this asap

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Although this is not 100% animal cruelty free, I had to include it because I have been using it every night throughout all 2015 (I purchased this before I officially became cruelty-free).  I am already looking for a dupe for this lip balm that actually compares to how velvety my lips felt even after cold and dry air. So I just ordered Glossier's The Balm Dot Com to see how it goes... As always, I'll keep you guys posted.

Sonia Kashuk's Eye Shadow Brush 

I've always thought you could apply eyeshadow with anything. Even your fingers, which is true. But when I got this brush everything changed. Not only does it feel super luxurious, it deposits the product on my eyelids perfectly. I've been specially loving this with my Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

2015 is the year when I found my signature scent after years of wanting to switch from Miss Dior Cherie. It's not that I didn't like that scent, it's just that I smelled like that since High School and I was so over it! Chloe's scent is sophisticated yet youthful. It has a sweet but soft scent with a hint of spice I would say, but just go ahead and smell it by yourself. It could also be your signature scent. :)

Living Proof Sating Hair Serum

As you all know, I'm pretty low maintance with my hair, so I went from not wearing anything on my hair after I washed it to be entirely dependent on this stuff! It smells great and air drys my hair to perfection.

BeautyBlender

The original one. I tried the Real Techniques version of this for a while and I liked it, but not until I got the BeatyBlender on Sephora's VIB Sale. There should be a saying about "once you go beauty blender, you never go back", because let me tell you, I'm never using a brush to blend my foundation again.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

If you've ever had a dull face day, you should buy this. Even if you have oily skin. I have oily skin and this gives my face a subtle glow that makes it look like I had 8 hours of sleep every day. I would suggest going for the travel size ($19) since a little goes a long way and that way you can really test it out before buying the $41 bottle.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

I never knew I needed a serum until I tried this. I love how it smells and how it makes my skin look and feel every morning after I've used this the night before. I have a complete review here.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Another super raved mascara that I was super excited to purchase since I found out this brand is cruelty-free! I don't know if it is better than sex but, it is definitely a great mascara. It's super dark, voluminizing and it can go from day to night with just one more coat. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

So that's it guys. I must say that I really missed writing, and I will definitely keep updating Ambinity throughout 2016, but with some changes. I'll keep you guys posted. ;)

See you soon!

María Elena

Ole Henriksen

Tarte's Maracuja Oil VS Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

Guys sorry for the two day delay on this post! To be honest, as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I gotta change my routine to give you guys good content. Does this happen to any of you guys?  Anyhow, I wanted to start this new thing called "Beauty Battle", a new series in which I will be putting two products to the test and let you know which one I recommend and why.

This time, I wanted to write about my experience with facial oils, which has been quite interesting. When all this rave about facial oils started I was the first one saying it was crazy. I mean, why would you use oil on a greasy face?! Later I found out this actually helps your skin produce less oil since these products send the message to your skin that all the oil is provided already. Awesome right? My first try was Tarte's Maracuja Oil, a brand that I truly trust to experiment with any beauty trend. Then I wanted to test my luck with another beauty oil that had a great following and obsession among the beauty community: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. So without further due, here's my face to face (pun intended) review with these two:

Tarte's Maracuja Oil

First of all, did you know this is parcha oil?! I have a funny story here. When I purchased this, I was telling my mom I just ordered maracuja oil as this rare and natural thing that I was going to start putting on my skin to make it more beautiful. Then she looked at me with surprise and told me: "You're going to put parcha in your face?!". All my exotic feeling went away with her comment since here in Puerto Rico you can find this fruit everywhere, lol. But, as you guys know, putting parcha on my face has been a great experience, and I believe it's due to all the vitamin C it contains. 

As a disclaimer, it feels oily the minute you put it on, but after that, it just settles on your skin and you wake up with the most radiant looking skin. I'm not kidding. Just beware: it doesn't smell good... You can tell it's a natural product, but to be honest I think this is a good thing and you'll know why with my next review. 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

As I told you before, I bought this with great enthusiasm because the beauty community is obsessed with this oil and I had never tried a Kiehl's product before (I know, I'm super late on the hype!). First impression: OMG this smells great! It has a great strong smell that just makes you feel relaxed before going to sleep. Since I already used two bottles of Tarte's Maracuja Oil and loved it, I had great expectations for this super hyped product. But the end result? There was none. I didn't see any significant changes in my skin and I felt like it was a bit too oily for my taste when I woke up. Plus, even though I loved the smell, I ended up feeling like it shouldn't be good for my skin. My mom is using it for a week now and so far she has no complains, so I think this will be best if you have more mature skin. 

Final Verdict: Tarte's Maracuja Oil is a clear winner for me here and I can't wait to repurchase a jumbo size. I can even use it during the day, even though I have quite oily skin, which I still think is crazy! As for Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, I would not recommend it for anyone with oily skin. If you have super dehydrated and/ or mature skin I would say go for it! You will love the smell and is definitely super moisturizing. 

So there you go guys! Ambinity's very first Beauty Battle. What did you guys think? Would you like to see more of these? Let me know in the comments bellow. 

10 Old Fashioned Beauty Hacks

BeautyMaría ElenaComment
old school beauty hacks

My grandma is the person who introduced me to this whole beauty industry since I was in elementary school. I remember going through her makeup drawer and just looking at all the shades I knew I would be wearing one day. I even remember the first time she let me put me on some lipstick and how fabulous I felt looking in the mirror! As I got older, she started taking me to Benefit Cosmetic's counter at Macy's just so I could choose fun and light weight makeup to wear in high school, which was one of my favorite memories. So needless to say, my grandma is a very classy lady who believes natural beauty is an investment. Just look at this gorgeous picture from her back in high school! (btw, this was the only picture she let me upload to this post. lol)

I love how she embraces her natural beauty and has never done surgery or injections because "one should always grow old with grace and dignity". But besides the fact that she recommends that I invest in high end products for my skin, she has some pretty awesome tips and tricks she has taught me along her life and I thought you guys could benefit from them. Enjoy!

1. Add the gel of a Vitamin E capsule to your face moisturizer

She keeps a Vitamin E bottle on her medicine drawer to mix in with her moisturizer every morning. She breaks the capsule in half and adds the gel to her moisturizer as a way of boosting its benefits. And if there's a little bit left, she uses it on her night cream. 

2. Use rubbing alcohol to break in your shoes

She swears by this trick! If your shoes are a little tight just after you bought them, put on some alcohol and apparently it will help you break them in faster.

3. make an Aspirin paste to treat pimples

I hated this one when I was a teenager! Every time she saw a zit on my face, she will get an aspirin pill and mix it in with a little bit of water until it formed a paste. Then she will make me wear it during my sleep and when I woke up, bam! the zit was gone. Why does it work you may ask? Because aspirin has salicylic acid, which is the main ingredient in most acne products.

4. when it comes to skincare and foundation, don't bargain shop!

"You can't save money when it comes to your skin!", it's one of the first beauty lessons she taught me. Although I believe there are some really good cheap products at the drugstore, she does has a point. She went through a really bad skin allergy after using a cheap brand when she was younger and now she can only use hypoallergenic products on her skin. So when it comes to skincare, foundation and concealer, try to stick with high end products, unless recommended by a professional. You will be saving more money on the long run! 

5. use Olive oil as body moisturizer

She doesn't buy any of those brand name moisturizers for her body because she says that olive oil works better for her. And believe me, she has the softest skin ever. 

6. use White iodine for stronger nails

My grandma has the strongest and prettiest nails ever, which makes me question why I haven't tried this yet. She uses it right before applying nail polish since she was a teenager. 

7. use Baking soda to mask shoe odors

It's funny how my grandma uses baking soda for everything! But one of her best tricks is this one. It even works on cars. I like to call it the original (and cheaper) Febreze!

8. use Mouthwash to combat dandruff

Forget all the dandruff shampoos! She says that scrubbing your head with your fingers with a little bit of mouthwas will get rid of all of that nasty snow. Just make sure it has alcohol in it. 

9. use Baking soda to whiten teeth

Again, baking soda! She says that if you brush your teeth with just baking soda before washing them you will have whiter teeth in no time. 

10. use White vinegar for shiny hair

She claims that if you mix in a little bit of white vinegar with with your last rinse, it will make your hair shinier.

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Well that's it guys! I loved making this list for you. Have you tried any of these tricks? Would you like to see more? Let me know! :)

Until next time, 

María Elena

Ole Henriksen Skincare Haul

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

It's no secret that one of my favorite skin care products is Olen Henriksen's Truth Serum® Vitamin C Collagen since I already raved all about it here. So when they contacted me to be part of their #RealUsersRealResults campaign, I was totally in. I've been meaning to try many of their products and I feel so lucky to have been sent this package in order to share my honest opinion with you guys. 

Please keep in mind that all of these products were customized and sent to me as someone with normal to oily skin. So without further ado, here's my awesome Ole Henriksen haul: 

1) Aloe Vera Deep Cleanser - First impression: LOVE the color! Let's see if the product lives up to my expectations fot this brand. "This cleanser proves that you can have ultra-clean skin without stripping and dehydrating", reads the label. Which is exactly what I need in this moment of my life.

2) Grease Relief Face Tonic - Toners! So easy to skip this step right? I've been slacking on it lately and I can't wait to see the results for this one. I love that its active ingredients such as Lactic Acid and Golden Seal help to disinfect, and renew, while calming and balancing. Calming is clearly the magic word here. Hah!

3) Lemon Strip Flash Peel - Have you ever used a peel before?! As a rookie, I feel like "Incorporates 20% AHA complex to dissolve dead skin cells and resurface skin" sounds a little intimidating. But again, I have high hopes for this brand and I feel that the fact that it is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and cruelty-free, makes it far less intimidating. I'm ready guys!

4) Truth Serum Collagen Booster - I've already tested it and it is one of my holy grail products. So glad I got another bottle because I recently finished my last one. Check out my review here.

5) Sheer Transformation - Let's be real here: I pick my skin and I'm not proud of it. Its a bad vice that is specially hard on me since it leaves marks and dark spots on my skin. Why do I still do it? I don't know. But I'm excited about this cream since it says that it will diminish my dark spots.

6) Total Truth Eye Crème - I love that this product is like the sister to the Truth Serum. So again, really high expectations for this light cream. Plus, I LOVE that it has SPF 15. I've been meaning to try an eye cream with sunscreen for a while.

7) Invigorating Night Treatment - Since I love my Truth Serum so much, I usually save it for nighttime only. So I'm really excited that I get to use that one for day and this Invigorating one for night. Reading the Amazon and Sephora reviews makes me even more excited to try it!

I will start using all of these products starting tomorrow Monday, July 20th in order to give you guys my honest opinion. Stay tuned for upcoming reviews! Have you tried any of these products? What do you think?

XO, Elena

Disclousure: These items were gifted to me by the OleHenriksen team for my honest reviews. I also wanted to add that I wouldn't be able to review these products if it weren't for you guys. Your comments and your continuous readership encourages me to keep creating content that we both love. 

 As cheesy as it sounds, it has been a dream come true and for that I truly thank you. 

Ole Henriksen

How to Relax and Get a Good Night Sleep

Lifestyle, BeautyMaría Elena6 Comments

There are few things that I love more than having some me time on a work night, let me tell you. And I'll go ahead and say it: I'm weird and I absolutely love having alone time.

The thing is I'm a morning person because evenings are my time to disconnect from reality, put on some good music and actually enjoy myself until I fall asleep. Which is not easy when you work in PR/ Advertising, people!

Something that I learned from my mom, is to make my bedroom feel as if I was staying at a luxury hotel. This doesn't mean you have to go all out buying expensive stuff. The trick is to embrace that is your place, your me time

and you should try to do whatever makes you feel most at ease. So this are the steps that I like to take:

  • Browse through Spotify for a chill station - It's usually some Melody Gardot or Calma Carmona who help me wine down.
  • Having a luxurious nighttime routine is key - I treat myself with some good skin care products and relaxing body lotions.
  • Fuzzy socks! I really can't get a good night sleep without them. 
  • Writing - I try to do this every night, but I usually do it when I'm really stressed. It helps me "dump" all of my bad thoughts. 

What do you do to get a good night sleep? Let me know so I can add it to my nighttime routine! :)

XO, Elena